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Every property in our municipality is zoned for specific purposes and land zones are standard across Victoria.

Zoning and Overlays

Every property in our municipality is zoned for specific purposes and land zones are standard across Victoria.

This means that Business Zone 1 is the same here as it is in Bendigo, Melbourne or Mildura.

Each district in Victoria has a Planning Scheme – our area is covered by the:
Swan Hill Planning Scheme

Sections in the document will help you understand the scheme. The most important are:

  • The State Planning Policy Framework
    This includes issues of state importance when decisions are made.
  • Local Planning Policy Framework
    This includes long-term directions about land use and development in our municipality. It also provides the reasoning for the zone and overlay requirements and particular provisions in the scheme.
  • Zones
    Each zone sets out the requirements that must be met.
  • Overlays
    Each overlay details additional requirements that must be met.
  • Particular provisions
    Shows requirements for specific uses and developments.
  • General Provisions
    Provides information on the management of the planning scheme and other matters.


The Swan Hill Planning Scheme zones land for certain uses. Each zone has its own purpose and set of requirements.
Zones in the Swan Hill Planning Scheme include:

  • General Residential
  • Low Density Residential
  • Township
  • Industrial 1
  • Commercial 1
  • Commercial 2
  • Rural Living
  • Farming

It is this zoning information that decides if a planning permit is needed. It’s also what Council must consider when it comes to approving a planning permit.
A zone sets out land use controls in three sections:

  • Section 1: Land uses that do not need a planning permit.
  • Section 2: Land uses that need a planning permit.
  • Section 3: Banned uses. Some uses are not allowed on land in a zone because they may clash with other uses. For example, an industry in a Residential 1 Zone.


Overlays apply to a piece of land with a special feature. This could be a heritage building, important vegetation or a flood risk.

For example, a Heritage Overlay, applies to historical sites of natural or cultural importance. The overlay details the requirements that apply.

Not all land has an overlay. However, some land can have more than one overlay.

The overlay information will also show if a planning permit is needed for a development or for changes to the land.

Properties might also have overlays in addition to their zone such as:

Environmental and Landscape
  • Environmental importance
  • Vegetation protection
  • Significant landscape
Heritage and Built Form
  • Heritage
  • Design and development
  • Development plan
Land Management
  • Floodway
  • Land subject to flood
  • Special building
  • Bushfire management
  • Public acquisition
  • Environmental audit
  • Road closure
  • Development contributions plan

You must consider the zone and overlays when buying or developing a property. These are very important to the development and use of your land.
The zoning on your property may change. The process to change a zone is done with all affected property owners. Once approved, the Swan Hill Planning Scheme maps are amended

For more information

You can also view planning scheme maps at our planning counter at the Swan Hill Council office.

Our planning staff can also show you the relevant sections of the scheme and explain what it means, and how it affects the land you are interested in.

Planning Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2352

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